Keeping kids organized can be a big challenge. Most kids don’t come by organization naturally, and have to learn the skill. Many parents have similar issues, but when the clutter is all over the floors of your home, it’s time to corral your children and teach them some organizing basics. I know, I know, I can already feel the pushback. I’m not talking about getting into screaming matches with the kids or putting up with daily tantrums. I’m talking about creating organizational routines for yourself and your children, which will make organizing simple, easy, and even fun.
The key word is “routine.” The goal is to create habits that don’t take a lot of thought, and eventually happen rather mechanically. It’s up to the parent to be extra vigilant, involved and to set a good example, but as your child gets used to the routine it should become more natural for them and less oversight will be needed. Here are some more organizing tips from your NYC professional organizer…
This should be the first step in getting your children’s stuff under control. Activities such as study, play, eating, video, etc., should all happen (more or less) in their designated areas. Food should not come into the bedroom; loud toys and electronic should not be in the study area, clothing should be in closets, drawers, or hampers. Laying this foundation will already get your kids thinking about their things and where they belong. Or if space is limited, one group of toys should be put away before starting the next activity.
Setting up the system for organizing all the toys is a great parent/child project. Deciding where and how best to store the toys can be a collaboration. Labeled bins with lids work effectively especially for all those small items. If your child can’t read yet, use pictures in addition to words. Organize the toys according to type. This way you can avoid your child dumping 1,000 Lego blocks on the floor to get to one toy car. One unique way to help your child get into the putting-away habit is to use an online toy rental service. These sites ship a clean box of toys to you every month. After you child has played with them, he or she can pack them up with you, and their reward will be their next set of toys. Some toy rental sites are: sparkboxtoys.com, toystrunk.com and mommypoppins.com.
Create a Daily Routine
Many have a tendency to procrastinate, and kids are no exception. You will help your kids immensely and save yourself a lot of battles if you set up a daily routine for your kids, and stick to it. Study time, bath time, play time, bed time all should be as regular as possible. You can help your kids transition from one activity to another by giving them a 5 minute warning, so they can wrap up whatever they are doing and get ready to move on to the next thing. A great habit to develop is to have your kids prepare their book bags and clothes for the next day the night before. That will save all of you a lot of stress as you leave the house, especially if your kids aren’t morning people.
Teaching your children these basic organizing principles will be time well spent as these skills will serve them well in the future.